Prince Albert wrestler strikes gold at nationals

Prince Albert’s Kayley Clarke took home gold in the U19 Women’s Greco-Roman 61 kg event at the 2024 Canadian Wrestling Championships in Ontario. -- SaskWrestling Photo.

Prince Albert wrestler Kayley Clarke was a little uneasy heading into the 2024 Canadian Wrestling Championships in Ontario, but the nerves didn’t show.

The Carlton Comprehensive Public High School Student finished strong in the U19 Women’s Division, taking home a gold medal in the Greco-Roman event on the final day of competition.

“I was just really happy,” said Clarke, who was one of four Prince Albert Wrestlers to travel to the championships in Mississauga. “I lost to the second place girl the first day, so I was really happy I was able to beat her that day.”

Clarke opened the tournament with wins over Ontario’s Jaida Lorenzo and B.C.’s Sarah Clarke in the U19 Women’s Freestyle 61 kg event. However, a loss to Ella De Almeida in the semi-finals and another loss to Nova Scotia’s Alexis Lavers sent her to the fifth place match where she defeated B.C.’s Diksha Chaudhary.

Clarke used that as motivation heading into the U19 Women’s Greco-Roman 61 kg event, scoring wins against Lavers, Sarah Clarke, and Chendra Clements to take home gold.

“It was pretty scary,” Clarke said about competing at nationals, “But, I did it before so I knew what I had to do.”

With nationals in the rear-view mirror, Clarke has turned her attention on school and post-secondary athletics. She graduates from Carlton this fall, and plans to keep wresting at the University of Saskatchewan next year.

“I was thinking of going to Alberta, but I didn’t like how far they were and I didn’t have any family (there),” Clarke said. “I had family living in Saskatoon, so I thought that was nice.”

Joining Clarke in Mississauga were fellow Prince Albert wrestlers Owen Ferchuk, Noah Remy, and Jonah Sanderson. All four wrestlers also represented Saskatchewan at the North American Indigenous Games in 2023 (NAIG).

Ferchuk joined Clarke on the medal podium, taking home a pair of bronze medals in the Men’s 125 kg Greco-Roman and Men’s 125 kb Freestyle competitions. This was Ferchuk’s first time competing at Nationals. He qualified in 2023, but had to skip due to injury.

Ferchuk also graduates this year, and like Clarke, plans to keep wrestling after graduation.